Franz Ferdinand - Tonight

2009-03-26 11:37
On Franz Ferdinand (2004) and You Could Have it So Much Better (2005) they pretty much patented the whole neo-new wave/post-punk revival with a party hard cocktail of 'angular' guitars and stabbing keyboards (cf. "Take Me Out") that kept the most suicidal Joy Division/Television fan on the dancefloor. Their tailored suits 'n ties quickly became a uniform for every young indie rock band from Glasgow and New York to London and Belville. But now it's 2009. Pastiche has become a pandemic. How do indie rock's most fashionable lager louts remain relevant in an era when you can buy your skinny jeans in Woolworths?

Well, hiring hipster producer, Dan Carey (cf. Hot Chip, Kylie and CSS) to spice up their sonic recipe with bucketloads of MSG (that's Giorgio Moroder-soaked-grooves) and teach them how to vogue with a funky disco punk flair last heard on Studio 54 dance floors when David Bowie was flogging his Fame is probably worth a shot. 

Okay that's a slight exaggeration. Franz Ferdinand aren't suddenly obsessed with wanting to be The Bee Gees. Tonight isn't Saturday Night Fever for the 21st century. But it is almost touch and go for a moment here. "Ulysses" is a vampiric disco rock sprint about wanting - no make that needing - to get elegantly wasted on the weekend. It's surely only matter of minutes before lead singer Alex Kapranos' "C'mon, let’s get hiiiiigh!" becomes every dance rock fan's party starting mantra. 

The "let's go party and pick up chicks" pantomime never lets up either, cocaining its way from spastically sexy retro synth-pop riffs culled from Nile Rodgers' Chic bass funk cloth ("No You Girls") and campy art school disco pop singalongs ("Turn It On") to glitterballed glam rock abrasions that actually imagine Arctic Monkeys and Roxy Music fans chasing tequilas together at the bar ("Bite Hard").

So yes, it's a decadent diary of a night on the tiles. But as with any good bender, there is that inevitable emotional comedown. Unplugged folk pop finale "Katherine Kiss Me" is a quietly dazed and confused hangover about falling in love that's the perfect antidote to all the emotionally airbrushed, blank generation bravado that's come before.  
When Scottish indie rock dandies Franz Ferdinand sashayed onto the scene a few years back in their bespoke suits, silk button-down shirts, skinny ties and tailored cheekbones they were unquestionably cool.

What to read next: Kalahari

ben 2009/03/27 1:31 PM
when is rock going to get over electronica and go back to rocking?
nancy 2009/03/30 9:59 AM
  • Rating:
post-punk? i think not.... either way, it's a good album, but not as good as their first.
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